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2011 Vermont Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data

yrbs_cvr_iconEvery two years since 1993, the Department of Health Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs and the Department of Education Coordinated School Health Programs have sponsored the Vermont Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS).

The YRBS measures the prevalence of behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death, disease, and injury among youth. The YRBS is part of a larger effort to help communities increase the “resiliency” of young people by reducing high risk behaviors and promoting healthy behaviors.

(from: Vermont Department of Health)

The 2011 YRBS findings regarding queer youth in Vermont revealed some of these key findings:

  • The rate of attempted suicide continues to decline for GLBQ (gay, lesbian, bisexual, and questioning youth). In 2009, 20% of GLBQ youth reported attempting suicide in the last 30 days –  in 2011, that number dropped to 15%.
  • While these numbers are showing it is getting better, GLBQ youth in Vermont are still five times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.
  • GLBQ youth are four and five times more likely than heterosexual youth to use harder illegal drugs such as cocaine and heroin.
  • 4 in 10 GLBQ youth, or 35% of all GLBQ Vermont youth, report being bullied or harassed in the last 30 days.
  • GLBQ youth are three times more likely than heterosexual youth to skip school due to feeling unsafe.

While the harmful behaviors are troubling, GLBQ youth are also engaging in positive parts of their life including:

    • Half of all GLBQ youth in Vermont volunteer in their community every week.
    • Nearly 60% of GLBQ youth agree that their teachers really care and encourage their development as young people.
    • 6 out of every 10 GLBQ youth talk to their parents about school.

Below are results broken down by sexual orientation and high risk behaviors.

PDF of 2011 Vermont Youth Risk Behavior Survey on risk behaviors based on same-sex disclosed behavior.  FYI: Not all youth who have sex with the same sex identify as LGBQ (lesiban, gay, bisexual, or questioning).  Click here.

PDF of 2011 Vermont Youth Risk Behavior Survey risk behaviors based on self-disclosed sexual orientation identification.  FYI:  Not all youth who are LGBQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual or questioning), identify this identity on this survey.  Click here.

For a full copy of the 2011 YRBS visit the VT Department of Health website here.

Outright Vermont disclaimer on the VT YRBS:

The YRBS is the strongest assessment tool that we have to track harmful behaviors and some positive behaviors among Vermont queer youth and their heterosexual peers.  It is important to note that until 2005, students were not able to identify their sexual orientation on the survey (all that was asked was same-sex behavior).  In that same year, questions about bullying were introduced.  As of the 2011 survey, gender is still not asked in an inclusive way – leaving out transgender students and other gender non-conforming youth from being able to self-identify.  The current gender question simply asks “male or female.”  Changing this question has to come from the federal Center for Disease Control (CDC) who oversee the creation of the bulk of the survey for all states.

Please note: Before 2011, students in grades eight through twelve took the Vermont Youth Risk Behavior Survey. In 2011, two surveys were conducted: a high school survey of students in grades nine through twelve, and a middle school survey of students in grades six through eight.

All results in the 2011 high school survey report are for grades nine through twelve only. Results from earlier surveys that appear in the 2011 high school report will be different from those published previously.

The 2011 YRBS Vermont report is available online only.